Best Website Structure for SEO
How to Structure Your Website for SEO
Website structure plays a pivotal role in determining the success of your SEO efforts. A well-organised site enhances user experience and makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your content. Let's delve into the key components of structuring your website for optimal SEO.
1. Planning the Ideal Site Structure
Before diving into the design and development phase, planning your site's structure is crucial. This involves determining the hierarchy of your content, from main categories to sub-categories and individual pages.
An essential aspect to consider during this phase is the principle of memory. Research suggests that people can typically move an average of five items from their working memory to short-term memory. This distribution has a variance of +- 2, implying that it's optimal to limit menus to between 3-5 items. Overloading your site's navigation with too many options can overwhelm visitors and hinder the transition of information from their working to short-term memory.
2. Creating the Homepage
Your homepage serves as the gateway to your website. It should provide a clear and concise overview of your site, guiding visitors to the most important sections. Given the memory principle, it's advisable to highlight 3-5 primary areas on your homepage, ensuring that users can easily navigate to the most relevant sections without feeling overwhelmed.
3. Logical Navigation Menus
Navigation menus are the backbone of your website's structure. They guide users through your content, ensuring they find what they want. When designing navigation menus, adhering to the "less is more" philosophy is crucial.
Even with the most legible font families, individuals with low vision, cognitive, language, and learning disabilities might find it challenging to process text. Overloading your navigation with numerous options can exacerbate this issue. Instead, streamline your menus, focusing on the most critical sections and ensuring each item is descriptive and straightforward.
4. Taxonomies and URL Structures
Taxonomies refer to the classification of your content into categories and tags. They help organise your content in a manner that's logical for both users and search engines. For instance, an e-commerce site might use categories like "Men," "Women," and "Kids," with sub-categories like "Shoes," "Apparel," and "Accessories."
URL structures go hand-in-hand with taxonomies. A well-structured URL provides users and search engines with context. For example, a URL like "www.example.com/women/shoes" instantly tells users and search engines that the page pertains to women's shoes.
When crafting URL structures, keeping them concise, descriptive, and free from unnecessary characters or words is essential. This enhances readability and aids in SEO, as search engines prefer clean and descriptive URLs.
Header and Footer Menus: Central Pillars of Navigation
Header and footer menus are foundational elements in website design and crucial to user navigation. They serve as the primary touchpoints for users to explore a website's content.
Header Menus: Typically located at the top of a webpage, header menus are many users' first point of interaction. They often contain links to the most essential sections of a website, such as "Home," "About," "Services," and "Contact." Given their prominence, it's essential to ensure that header menus are concise, logically organised, and highlight the most critical areas of your site.
Footer Menus: Positioned at the bottom of a webpage, footer menus often complement header menus by providing additional navigation options. They might include links to terms of service, privacy policies, sitemaps, and other secondary pages. Footer menus can also house links to social media profiles, contact information, and newsletter sign-up forms.
Category Menus for E-commerce: Especially vital for e-commerce websites, category menus help users navigate many products. These menus often branch into sub-categories, allowing users to drill down into more specific product groups. For instance, under the primary category of "Electronics," there might be sub-categories like "Mobile Phones," "Laptops," and "Audio Devices."
Menus Relating to Website Sections: Some websites, especially content-rich platforms like news sites or blogs, use menus to group content based on sections or themes. For instance, a news website might have areas like "Politics," "Technology," "Sports," and "Entertainment," each with its dedicated menu.
Breadcrumbs: Guiding the Way
Breadcrumbs are navigational aids that allow users to trace their path from the page they're viewing back to the homepage. They offer a hierarchical representation of a website's structure. For example, a breadcrumb trail might look like this: "Home > Electronics > Mobile Phones > iPhone."
Breadcrumbs are particularly beneficial for:
- User Orientation: They help users understand their location within a website, especially if they've landed on a page deep within the site from an external source or search engine.
- Enhanced Navigation: Breadcrumbs allow users to navigate back to higher-level sections without using the back button or starting from the homepage.
- SEO Benefits: They provide search engines with another tool to understand the structure of a website, potentially aiding in indexing.
Incorporating breadcrumbs, especially on e-commerce sites or content-rich platforms, can significantly enhance user experience and site usability.
Learn more about Site Architecture.
While a website's main content and design are vital, navigational elements like headers, footers, category menus, and breadcrumbs cannot be understated. They collectively ensure that users can effortlessly explore a site, enhancing user satisfaction and SEO performance. Structuring your website for SEO is a meticulous process that requires a blend of user-centric design and technical know-how. By understanding the nuances of human memory and the principle of "less is more," you can craft a user-friendly site optimised for search engines. Remember, the goal is to guide your visitors seamlessly through your content while ensuring that search engines can easily crawl, index, and rank your pages.
Internal Linking Strategies: Enhancing SEO and User Experience
Internal linking, the process of creating links that point to different pages within the same website, is a fundamental aspect of SEO and user navigation. When executed correctly, it can significantly boost a site's SEO performance, enhance user experience, and increase page views. Let's delve deeper into the intricacies of internal linking strategies.
Contextual Internal Linking
Contextual internal linking refers to embedding links within the content where they naturally fit based on the context. For instance, in an article about digital marketing, you might link to a related piece on your site about content marketing. These links are typically anchored to relevant keywords or phrases within the content.
Benefits of SEO include:
- Enhanced Page Authority: Distributing page authority and passing it from high-authority pages to lower-authority ones can improve the ranking potential of the linked pages.
- Improved Crawlability: It aids search engine bots in discovering and indexing new pages faster.
- Reduced Bounce Rate: By offering readers relevant content to explore further, you can keep them engaged longer, reducing the chances of them leaving your site prematurely.
Ways to Improve Internal Linking
- Regular Audits: Periodically review your site's content to identify opportunities for internal linking. Tools like Screaming Frog or Ahrefs can help automate this process.
- Use Descriptive Anchor Text: Instead of generic phrases like "click here," use descriptive and relevant keywords as anchor text.
- Avoid Overloading: While internal linking is beneficial, overdoing it can make the content unreadable. Aim for a balance.
Process of Internal Linking with New Content
Whenever you add new content to your website:
- Identify Relevant Existing Content: Identify existing articles or pages related to the new content before publishing.
- Embed Links Naturally: Integrate links where they fit contextually, ensuring they add value to the reader.
- Update Older Content: Revisit older articles and link them to the new content if relevant.
Cornerstone Content and Its Importance
Cornerstone content refers to the core articles or pages on your site that are comprehensive, high-quality, and cover a topic in-depth. These pieces often reflect the primary mission of your site and target the main keywords.
Linking to cornerstone content is crucial because:
- It Drives Traffic: These are your best pieces; directing users to them can increase engagement.
- Boosts SEO: By frequently linking to cornerstone content, you signal to search engines the importance of these pages, potentially improving their rankings.
Orphaned Content: Identification and Elimination
Orphaned content refers to pages or articles on your website that aren't linked to any other part of your site. This means users and search engines might find it challenging to discover these pages, leading to missed opportunities.
To discover orphaned content:
- Use SEO Tools: Platforms like Yoast SEO can help identify orphaned content on your site.
- Manual Checks: Periodically review your site map and cross-reference it with internal links to spot any discrepancies.
Once identified, you can either:
- Link to Them: If the content is still relevant and valuable, create internal links pointing to these pages.
- Update or Remove: If the content is outdated or irrelevant, consider updating it or removing it altogether.
Internal linking is more than just an SEO tactic; it's a strategic approach to content presentation and navigation. You can create a cohesive, user-friendly, and SEO-optimised website by understanding its nuances, from contextual linking to managing cornerstone and orphaned content.
Common Mistakes in Website Management and How to Avoid Them
In the realm of website management and SEO, even minor oversights can have significant repercussions. Some common mistakes can hinder your site's performance and user experience. Let's delve into these pitfalls and explore ways to circumvent them.
1. Keyword Cannibalization: This occurs when multiple pages on your website target the same keyword, leading to competition between your own pages in search engine rankings.
- How to Avoid:
- Regular Audits: Periodically review your content to ensure that you're not repeatedly targeting the same keywords across multiple pages.
- Strategic Content Planning: When planning new content, ensure it has a distinct focus. If similar topics exist, consider consolidating or differentiating the content to target varied keyword phrases.
- Use Tools: SEO platforms like Ahrefs or SEMrush can help identify instances of keyword cannibalization.
2. Outdated Content: Stale or outdated content can mislead users and harm your site's credibility. Search engines prioritize fresh and relevant content, so outdated material can also impact your rankings.
- How to Avoid:
- Regular Reviews: Set a schedule to review and update content, especially time-sensitive articles or data-driven pieces.
- Update or Redirect: If a piece of content is no longer relevant, consider updating it with current information. Alternatively, if the page no longer serves a purpose, redirect it to a more relevant page.
- Engage with Your Audience: Feedback from users can be invaluable in identifying areas of your site that need updating.
3. Poor Navigation: A confusing or cluttered navigation system can frustrate users, leading to increased bounce rates and decreased engagement.
- How to Avoid:
- User-Centric Design: When designing your navigation, prioritize user experience. Ensure that menus are logically organized and that key sections of your site are easily accessible.
- Limit Menu Items: As mentioned earlier, people can typically move an average of five items from their working memory to short-term memory. Therefore, streamline your menus to include only the most essential items.
- Feedback and Testing: Regularly gather user feedback and employ usability testing to identify and rectify any navigation issues.
Tips for Maintaining a Good Site Structure
A well-structured website is not just about the initial design and setup; it requires ongoing maintenance to ensure it remains user-friendly and SEO-optimized. Revisiting and refining your site's structure is crucial as your content grows. Here are some essential tips to maintain an effective site structure:
1. Regularly Evaluate Navigation Menu: Your navigation menu is the primary guide for users exploring your website. As you add new content or services, you must reassess your menu to ensure it remains logical and intuitive.
- Tip: Periodically gather user feedback or employ usability testing tools to identify navigation pain points or areas of confusion.
2. Update Taxonomies and URL Structure: Taxonomies, such as categories and tags, help organize your content. As your website expands, you might introduce new topics or services that necessitate updating these classifications.
- Tip: Ensure that your URL structures align with any changes in taxonomy. For instance, if you've renamed or merged categories, update the corresponding URLs and ensure proper redirects are in place to avoid broken links.
3. Clean Up Outdated Content: Content can confuse users and dilute your site's authority. Regularly reviewing and updating your content ensures that visitors always access relevant and accurate information.
- Finding Outdated Content: Use analytics tools to identify pages with declining traffic or engagement. These might be indicators of content that's no longer relevant or outdated.
- Update and Republish: Instead of merely deleting old content, consider updating it. For instance, an old blog post on a once-popular trend can be revamped to discuss its current relevance or legacy. Once updated, you can republish the content, giving it a new lease on life and drawing renewed attention from your audience and search engines.
What is best for SEO? An article section or a blog, or both?
Add your Content for SEO on your website to an articles section, and a blog on your small business website can be a good idea. An articles section is a great way to publish long-form content relevant to your target audience with a focus on foundational content. This can help you attract more visitors to your website and improve your SEO rankings. A blog is a great way to publish shorter, more frequent, timely, and relevant content to your target audience. This can help you keep your website fresh and engaging, and it can also help you build relationships with your readers. Creating a comprehensive content strut will help you reach your SEO goals with an articles section and a blog.
Here are some specific benefits of having both an articles section and a blog:
- The articles section can:
- Can be used to target long-tail keywords. It can help build backlinks.
- Can help improve user engagement cant.
- Can help establish your expertise.
- A Blog can
- It can be used to publish timely and relevant content that can help keep your website fresh and engaged.
- Can help you build relationships with your readers.
If you are looking to improve the SEO of your website, then having both an articles section and a blog is a great way to do it. Just make sure you create high-quality content relevant to your target keywords.
Here are some tips for creating high-quality content for your articles section and blog:
- Do your research: Before you start writing, do your research and ensure you understand the topic you are writing about. This will help you write content that is informative and accurate.
- Write for your target audience: Keep your target audience in mind when writing. What are their interests? What do they want to know? Write content that is relevant and engaging for them.
- Use keywords: When writing, use keywords relevant to the topic of your article or blog post. This will help people find your content when searching for information on that topic.
- Proofread your work: Before publishing your article or blog post, proofread it carefully to ensure no errors. This will help you create a professional and polished piece of content.
By following these tips, you can create high-quality content that will help improve the SEO of your website.
If you want to be found by a potential customer through Google Search, then SEO is essential. How much SEO work you will need to do to achieve your business goals varies.
Advertising can generate business for your website, but it can be very expensive. Word-of-mouth referrals are another way you can generate business.
Local SEO aims to improve your ranking in search, but it also supports both of the above in the following ways.
If one of your word-of-mouth referrals searches for your business, you can ensure they find you, not your competitor.
If you pay for advertising, then SEO will help maximise that spend. SEO considers the user experience on your website with a view to increasing conversions. You can get more out of your advertising dollar by considering how to optimise those landing pages.
User experience (UX) is considering the experience people have when they visit your website. UX is about good design and good marketing.
There are three essential parts:
- The look of your website. A visual experience establishes understanding, credibility and trust. Design is important.
- The feel of your website. Is it a joy to interact with this website? This will include factors such as good navigation, structure, and page speed. Even small sites need good navigation. They also need signals about the most important content this includes such factors as internal link building. They need to load fast.
- The usability of your website. Does your website have good functionality and predictability? Is it easy for people to find and do what they want on your website? As part of building trust with your website user, you should include at least a basic Privacy page and an outline of your Terms & Conditions of trade. Google looks for these and makes judgements about you on the basis of what they find.
As you can see, User experience affects SEO. It is also good for business: It comes from a place of empathy for your potential customer.
Yes, you are welcome to take our basic SEO package for 3 months as a one-off service $900 +GST.
When you take our 3-month package, we focus on SEO on-site on-page optimisation first and any content creation gaps. It does include a website audit which covers both on-site and off-site factors to check whether there are any critical problems. This package will be adequate for most small companies in a local niche market to raise your rankings in search results to the first page.
On-page optimisation work can last for many years. If you notice your rankings dropping in the future, pop back for a tune-up.
Many SEO companies don't do any on-site work instead, they used link-building through private blog networks. This short-term tactic might work well, but it is a direct violation of the Google Webmaster Guidelines. The danger is that the house of cards will crumble when Google finally uncovers the connection scheme, as will the rankings and credibility of your website.